(Sports Network) - The Buffalo Sabres will continue their charge for a playoff
spot when they visit the Eastern Conference-leading New York Rangers tonight
at Madison Square Garden.
The Sabres enter today one point behind Washington for the eighth and final
postseason berth in the East and the Capitals are also in action tonight
against visiting Winnipeg.
Buffalo has won two straight and boasts a 4-0-2 record in its last six trips
to the ice. All told, the Sabres have lost just two games in regulation in the
last month, going 11-2-4 over a 17-game stretch.
"We've put together a good run to get where we're at," Sabres head coach Lindy
Ruff said after his club's win Wednesday against Montreal. "We know there's a
tough schedule ahead of us, but it's rewarding to get as close as we've gotten
Buffalo has outscored the opposition by a combined 10-3 margin in its last two
contests, posting a 7-3 win Monday in Tampa Bay before Ryan Miller notched his
sixth shutout of the season in Wednesday's 3-0 decision over the visiting
Miller posted 34 stops to record the 28th shutout of his career. It was the
former Vezina Trophy winner's third shutout in his last 11 starts.
Cody Hodgson scored twice, Jason Pominville lit the lamp, and Derek Roy added
two assists for the Sabres. Hodgson now has two goals and two assists in his
last two games after going without a point in his first 10 games with Buffalo
following a trade last month with Vancouver.
"Well, I said after the game in Tampa that getting a couple assists was going
to be a boost for him. You know, you feel good about that and I thought
tonight he probably could've had four or five points," Ruff said of the 22-
Tonight, the Sabres will try to avoid getting swept in the season series by
the powerful Rangers, who are leading the East and Atlantic Division by one
point over idle Pittsburgh. New York is also just two points behind St. Louis
for the top seed in the NHL and the Blues, who have played two more games than
the Rangers, are off this evening.
New York is 3-0 against Buffalo this year, but needed to go past regulation to
win the last two encounters. Overall, the Rangers have claimed five of seven
in this series and Buffalo has lost two of its last three games in the Big
The Rangers are capping a seven-game homestand tonight and are 4-2 on the
residency after posting victories in the last two outings. New York registered
a 4-2 win Monday against the rival New Jersey Devils and then earned its first
win over the Detroit Red Wings in more than eight years with an overtime
decision on Wednesday.
Ryan Callahan's goal with 2:18 remaining in OT lifted the Blueshirts to a 2-1
victory over Detroit. It was New York's first victory over its Original Six
rivals since October 25, 2003.
The winner was set up by defenseman Michael Del Zotto, who held the puck near
the blue line after a dish from Brandon Dubinsky up the left wing. He centered
for Callahan, whose rising wrister hit the back of the net just under the
"I think we're starting to get our groove back, and we're starting to play how
we want and how we were playing earlier in the year," said Rangers captain
Callahan, who celebrated his 27th birthday on Wednesday. "It's an important
time of year, and we've got to keep building and keep going.
Brad Richards tallied in regulation for the Rangers, while Henrik Lundqvist
earned his 34th win of the year with 26 saves.
The Rangers had forward Artem Anisimov back on Wednesday after he sat out two
games with a shoulder injury. Defenseman Steve Eminger has sat out three
straight games with an undisclosed injury and is questionable for tonight.
New York, which is 26-9-2 as the host this year, will begin a three-game road
trip when it visits Toronto on Saturday. The Rangers also have a solid 20-11-5
mark as the guest.
With a point tonight, the Rangers can post their first 100-point season since
2005-06 when they hit the century mark on the nose.
The Sports Network